Albert Kesselring (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Kesselring was one of Germany’s more effective military commanders during World War II, particularly during the 1943-1944 Italian Campaign. He was instrumental in building the Luftwaffe into a viable component of the German war machine.
Albert Kesselring was born in the Kingdom of Bavaria, part of Otto von Bismarck’s German Empire, at Marktsteft on November 20, 1885. His family was Protestant and of middle-class origin. Kesselring’s father was a state employee holding a post as a school supervisor. At the age of nineteen, Kesselring entered the Bavarian officer corps. By the outbreak of World War I, he had risen to the rank of captain in the artillery and had seen action on the Western Front. During the course of the war, he was promoted and served first on a divisional staff and, later, on the staff of corps. Kesselring was one of the bright officers of the General Staff, who during the Weimar Republic drew up secret plans for the establishment of the German air force. This planning during the 1920’s for the Luftwaffe was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles, but Kesselring carried forward his plans while posted to the training section of the Truppenamt, which was part of the old General Staff. It was during this service that he acquired a reputation as an able planning and operations officer. Not politically active, Kesselring nevertheless welcomed the rearmament...
(The entire section is 1779 words.)
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Albert Kesselring (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Between 1933 and 1939, Kesselring played a key role in developing Adolf Hitler’s air force. He later supported Erwin Rommel’s operations in North Africa and skillfully held up the Allied advance in Italy in the Battle of Cassino.
The son of a teacher, Albert Kesselring joined a Bavarian artillery regiment in 1904 and served with his unit in World War I until he was transferred to general staff duties in 1917. After 1918, he remained in the army until 1933 when he was transferred to the new German air force (Luftwaffe). By 1936, Kesselring was chief of the general staff of the air force. As commander of an air fleet he participated in the Polish, French, and Russian campaigns.
In November, 1941, he was transferred to Sicily and named commander of the south, supporting Erwin Rommel’s forces in North Africa. In late 1942, Kesselring urged Nazi leader Adolf Hitler to hold Tunisia as a bridgehead, which resulted in the capture of the German army group in Africa in May, 1943. He was more successful in transferring German troops in Sicily across the Straits of Messina and establishing defensive positions near the monastery of Cassino. Kesselring repulsed repeated Allied assaults on Cassino in the winter of 1943-1944 until he was defeated by the Allies in May, 1944. After he was injured in a car accident, he left the Italian front and did not reappear again until March, 1945, as commander...
(The entire section is 343 words.)